With archery season in full swing, I have fully expected to hear of some big bucks being taken. So far, all has been quiet with little more than one miss known to me. I even have some questions about that miss.

Personally, I kind of think the hunter didn’t miss but hit the deer only to have the wound close preventing a blood trail. I have seen this happen more than once and it completely baffles the hunter and leads him or her into believing they have missed. This is especially true when the arrow is not found.

It’s funny how things happen, coincidence or karma, but as I sit here writing, I get a phone call telling me of two trophies being taken on the same evening. Neither buck is a world record but each is a trophy because of who downed it. Craig McDonald of Scenery Hill shot a four point using a compound bow, his first buck. You see, Craig is only 11-years old and that alone makes it a trophy.

On the same evening Brock Ivcic of Bentleyville downed a nine-point buck, his first archery deer. Brock is 13-years old. Both youngsters are to be congratulated. As far as deer that are reported to me, they are the first this year.

Not to be overlooked while having nothing to do with archery season, Noah Tenant of Canonsburg was fishing in Lake Erie and caught what he probably thought was a log. It turns out it was some fine eating. On his lure when he got it in the boat was an eight-pound 12-ounce Walleye. The fish was 31 inches long with a girth of 17 inches. Good going Noah. I bet your father, Jason, and grandfather, Don, were just a bit envious.

  • Last week, I wrote of gun shows and a favorite topic of mine, those old collectable Winchester Model 70s. In my youth, the Winchester Model 70 was the rifle owned by the serious rifle guru. Most of the poorer hunters owned 30-30s if lucky or, even lower on the totem pole, hunted with a worn out military rifle.

While used in the Pennsylvania woods in lower numbers, it was the most respected rifle in use. If you owned a Model 70, you were proud of it. All was well with the Winchester until the 1964 Model was offered to the public. It caused many a rifle owner to gag or feint at what they had done to the best of firearms. Some engineer came up with the bright idea to revamp the Model 70 and make it more cost efficient.

How do you explain the downright ugly stock with the pressed-in checkering that did nothing for either the grip or the looks? The barrel channel of the stock was so oversized, a bird could build a nest in the gap and still have room for a possum to reach in and grab it. From the rifle that was made from machining operations to one with stampings and I believe plastics replacing metal, what a monstrosity. While the Model 70 was improved over the years, the damage was done and the Remington took its place on top of the heap.

In 1964, the Model 70 as a collectable rifle came into being. This condition was created by engineers who should have just upped the price instead of destroying the image of the rifle. But look what later happened.

I said last week the rifle was first offered in 1936 and ended in 1963. The last serial number ever made was 581471. Last week, I listed the chamberings but the rifle was was made in 14 different styles or models. Here is a list from rarest to most common all of which are collectable.

Super Grade Featherweight, African, National Match. Bull Gun, Featherweight Westerner, Westerner-Alaskan, Varmint Rifle, Carbine, Alaskan, Target Model, Super Grade, Westerner, Featherweight and Standard Rifle. Interestingly, the rarest Super Grade Featherweight only had a total of 930 produced. It came in four calibers .308 Win, 270 W.C.F., 243 Win and 30-06, each of which is worth a fortune today.

One other strange fact is that the Model 70 serial numbers jumped in 1964 to 700,000, never producing a Model 70 in the 600,000. With the high value based on originality of the gun particularly in the rare chamberings and styles, beware of fakes.

George Block writes a weekly outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.

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